The BBC’s new miniseries is a dark tale of grooming and abuse

The BBC’s new drama, A Teacher, tells the tale of a young woman who lures a student into a sexual relationship – as well as the consequences of her actions. 

It’s official: 2021 is going to be a brilliant year for TV. And, while Netflix undoubtedly reigned supreme over the past 12 months, it seems the streaming platform is going to have some healthy competition come January from none other than the BBC.

We’ve already got The Serpent and Conversations With Friends to look forward to, as well as Ridley Road, The Pursuit Of Love, Vigil, and Line Of Duty’s much-anticipated sixth season.

And now the BBC has confirmed that it will be bringing A Teacher to our TV screens this coming January, too.

Here’s what you need to know about the US miniseries.

What’s the plot of A Teacher?

The drama, which already aired in the US via FX on Hulu to favourable reviews, follows the story of Claire, a new teacher at Westerbrook High School in Texas.

Claire married her sweetheart straight out of college, and she’s grown dissatisfied with the slow and steady relationship. And so when one of her students begins to take an interest in her, she begins to revel in it.

Eric, you see, is the sort of teenager his classmates all aspire to be. He’s the captain of the soccer team, he’s popular, he’s handsome, and his life seems entirely perfect… on the surface, that is. Because, while he puts on a front, Eric is struggling to juggle the pressures of school, applying for college and a part-time job, all while helping take care of his two younger brothers.

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At first, it seems as if the connection between student and teacher has nothing more than the makings of an innocent friendship. Over time, though, their relationship shifts, becoming something far more dangerous… and damaging.

Is there a trailer for A Teacher?

The BBC has released a trailer for A Teacher, which hints at the repercussions of Claire’s actions.

You can watch it for yourself below:

Who stars in the cast of A Teacher?

A Teacher boasts a star-studded cast, with House Of Cards actor Kate Mara taking the lead as Claire Wilson and Jurassic World star Nick Robinson as Eric.

You’s Marielle Scott, Succession’s Ashley Zukerman, and Snowpiercer’s Dylan Schmid also appear in the TV series.

And, as if that weren’t enough starpower for you, the main cast is rounded out by Shane Harper, Rya Kihlstedt, Adam David Thompson, Camila Perez, Cameron Moulène, Ciara Bravo, Charlie Zeltzer, and Devon Bostick, too.

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What are people saying about A Teacher?

When A Teacher first aired in the US, it was met with generally favourable reviews thanks to its “purposefully disquieting and thoroughly disturbing” subject matter.

“It underscores how our gendered stereotypes are failing those who need protection most,” noted critic Roxana Hadadi at the time.

Alci Rengifo echoed this sentiment, saying: “This series understands how quickly bad decisions can develop into something toxic, and how even the most alluring predators can manipulate a sense of trust from their victims.”

And James Croot, meanwhile, reminded viewers that “A Teacher’s subject matter won’t be for everyone – it rightly comes with a grooming warning – but if you’re a fan of sensitively handled, superbly paced, suspense-filled drama, then you’ll likely be quickly hooked.”

Why has A Teacher sparked controversy on social media?

Croot was, of course, soon proven correct in his opinion: many viewers were left outraged by the events depicted in A Teacher, and took to Twitter in their droves to share their thoughts on it.

One tweeted: “A Teacher shows exactly how a predator works!! Any adult who is interested in a minor romantically is sick!! Grooming is slow and deliberate!”

And another added: “As a future teacher, I most certainly will NOT be watching or supporting this movie. Disgusting that these ‘relationships’ are being romanticised and fetishised for ratings and views when they are ruining lives and careers.”

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Addressing these concerns, showrunner Hannah Fidell told Collider: “I hope that this show honestly creates a dialogue around [grooming and abuse], because I don’t think there’s a general awareness of it unless you’ve had maybe direct experience with sexual trauma in any way.

“The hope, and the intent while writing it, was that we wanted the audience to go along for the ride with Eric, so that they’re experiencing the entire pattern of abuse in the same way that he does – which is, at first, he doesn’t understand.”

Fidell added: “He’s enraptured by it. He doesn’t understand what’s happening. He doesn’t understand that she is completely doing something wrong. I don’t know if complicit is the right word, but it was important to me that the audience was on the same journey as Eric, emotionally.”

When is A Teacher coming to the BBC?

The miniseries will debut on BBC Two on Sunday 3 January 2021, with the first two episodes airing back to back from 10pm.

Images: BBC

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